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British Royal Flags, Reign of Edward VII

1901-1910

Last modified: 2013-11-24 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal standard | house of windsor | edward vii | prince of wales | alfred duke of edinburgh | arthur | queen alexandra |
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[British royal standard] image by Martin Grieve, 3 April 2007

See also:


Use of the Royal Standard

The way in which the Royal Standard should be used, as declared in the Royal Proclamation of 1 January 1801, is not explicit. "And our will and pleasure further is, that the stile and titles aforesaid, and also the arms or ensigns armorial aforesaid, shall be used henceforth, as far as conveniently may be, on all occasions wherein our royal stile and titles and arms or ensigns armorial ought to be used."

So, "may be used as it ought to be used" which until c1907 were as follows:

  1.  In general it was flown by any member of the Royal Family who did not have a personal version of the Royal Standard.
  2. At sea, regulations of 1824 were re-established by Order in Council 12 October 1832. "Royal Standard is to be worn on board any of HM Ships and vessels in which His Majesty or any member of the Royal Family shall embark."
  3. 1881 Colonial Regulations Relating to the Use of Flags by Governors of Colonies; Chapter 20, section 432:
    (i) Royal Standard shall be flown at Government House on Queen's Birthday and on days of Coronation and Accession.
    (ii) Union Flag with no badge shall be flown at Government House from sunrise to sunset on other days.
  4. There must have been similar regulations relating to the United Kingdom as a War Office Circular of 5 September 1906 directed that, "Royal Standard is not to be displayed on fortresses and official buildings on King's Birthday etc, but only when the sovereign is present, or a member of the Royal Family is representing the sovereign."
  5. There seem to have been orders that the Royal Standard was to be flown on government buildings when the sovereign was passing In State. In the course of 1907-08 instructions were issued by various government departments cancelling them, and stating that the Royal Standard was to be flown on government buildings only when HM was inside.
  6. There appear to have been some other more general uses of the Royal Standard as Home Office Circular 109071/31 of 8 February 1907 stated that, "Royal Standard cannot properly be used without HM permission. Persons should be asked to discontinue use and Secretary of State informed of any refusal." Scottish Office Circular 512 dated 16 March 1907 and sent to Chief Constables, stated that the Royal Standard was not to be flown without permission. A follow-up Circular 520 of 18 June indicated that 512 did not apply to the Scottish Lion.
There may have been other occasions when the Royal Standard was flown, but these are all that I have found.

The Royal Standard did continue to be flown at Sovereign's Birthday Parades, outside London, during that part of the parade when the Sovereign, if attending, would have been present. This was still the practice in the 1950s, but I don't know if it happens now. The Royal Standard was also authorised for Ceremonial Parades in connection with the Coronations in 1937 and 1953.
David Prothero, 17 January 2003

See also:


Proposal for a Personal Royal Standard for King Edward VII

[Proposal for a Personal Royal Standard for King Edward VII] image by Martin Grieve, 12 April 2007

When Edward succeeded Queen Victoria in 1901 he lost the distinctive Standard of the Prince of Wales and had only the undifferenced, and quite widely used, Royal Standard. He therefore proposed that another special version of the Royal Standard should be created specifically for the Sovereign; "a Royal Standard differenced with an oval shield in the centre carrying HM's cypher and crown on a purple ground, for the King's exclusive and personal use alone, with misuse guarded against by Patents, Design and Trade Mark Act, 1883. The cypher to be changed to that of the new sovereign on the demise of the previous sovereign."

The King was persuaded that the proposal was impractical. If he invariably used the new Standard it would in effect become the Royal Standard, in which case the change would require legislation. It was anticipated that any change to the Royal Standard would be opposed, and that the necessary legislation might not be passed by Parliament. Even if it was passed, the new Standard could still be copied and used by private individuals, as the Patent Act that was quoted protected the Royal Arms and Standard only when used to advertise a trade, calling or profession.

In Scotland the Court of Lord Lyon could still legally challenge abuse of Scottish Arms, but the courts that had once protected English Arms and Banners from misuse had long since lost their powers. The Court of Star Chamber was abolished in 1641, and the Court of Chivalry, of which the Constable of England and Earl Marshal were judges, became ineffective when the office of Constable was left vacant. The Court of Chivalry did sit in the 18th century, but following the judgment of the Chief Justice in 1702 that the Court had no powers to enforce its decrees, it dealt only with grants of Arms, and seems to have made no attempt to punish anyone for their improper use.

In 1902 an official in the Lord Chamberlain's Department wrote that "Any destruction of Arms or Banners that may have been done in recent times in England is probably of very questionable legality, and it would not be prudent to attempt by force to pull down even a Royal Standard improperly displayed on land.  In fact, on land, the King's Standard is really without protection except so far as good feeling and good taste prevents its improper use. And an impression has even been produced that it is in some sense a national flag, and that people exhibit their loyalty to the King by displaying it. At common law there is nothing to prevent anyone using a flag. Every country gentleman who has Arms, might put them on a flag over his house. The only thing he may not do is to take the Arms of the King, or of someone else, or assume 'Arms' improperly. But even if he does so there appears no way of punishing him."

Following the failure to create a personal Standard for the Sovereign, it was decided to follow the opinion of Sir Albert Woods, Garter King of Arms, that, failing express permission, it was not proper for the Royal Standard to be displayed elsewhere than on a royal palace, or to denote the monarch's presence. In February 1902 it was announced that unlimited use of the Royal Standard would be permitted during the week of the Coronation (postponed from 26 June to 9 August due to the King's illness) but that subsequent use would be improper.

After the Coronation requests for permission to fly the Royal Standard were submitted to either the Home Office or the King's Private Secretary, but all replies were channeled through the Home Office. A Home Office minute of 28 January 1903 set out the form of the standard reply. "Say that the Royal Standard is exclusively the the banner of the Sovereign. There have in the past been many instances in which, by mis-adventure or error, a custom has grown up of using it, but that when the question was raised recently it has become the duty of the Secretary of State to inform enquirers of what the rule really is. No exception is made in the case of any Borough or Corporation, or any other bodies, whether royal or not."
[National Archives (PRO) HO 45/10287/109071, HO 45/10316/126525,
HO 144/602/B22911, HO 144/7048]

David Prothero, 12 April 2007


Edward, Prince of Wales

[later King Edward VII]

[Prince of Wales] image by Martin Grieve, 11 April 2007

Based on Hounsell (1873)

Escutcheon of Saxony on a Royal Standard differenced by a three point label.
David Prothero, 11 April 2007

Album des Pavillons, Guidons et Flammes de Toutes les Puissances Maritimes by M. A. Le Gras, 1858 shows this standard with a couped label. However Hounsell's Flag book of 1873 and Flaggenbuch (1905) both illustrate this Standard with a throughout label.
David Prothero, 30 April 2007


Queen Alexandra, Princess of Denmark

[Queen Alexandra, 1907-1925] image by Martin Grieve, 13 May 2007

Based on Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) and a photograph of Queen Alexandra's standard, that had been carried to the Antarctic by Shackleton, was posted by the BBC in September 2002, when it was being auctioned off. A lighter shade of blue than that used on the Union flag was chosen, as it seemed that to use a dark blue would be rather overbearing, and obliterate the finer details on Alexandra's impalement.
Martin Grieve, 13 May 2007

In use 1907-1925. Royal Standard and Personal Standard as the daughter of King Christian IX of Denmark, impaled. [Royal Standard in hoist]
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg
, 24 April 2002

The arms consist of three shields placed on top of each other:
Bottom shield: Quartered by the Cross of Dannebrog 1 Denmark, 2 Schleswig, 3 per fess, in chief Sweden, in base gules, a stock fish argent, crowned or (for Iceland), impaling azure, a buck passant argent (for Faroe Islands), and azure, a polar bear rampant argent (for Greenland), 4 per fess in chief Wends: Yellow wyvern on red, in base Goths: Blue lion over nine red hearts on yellow.
Middle shield: Quartered: 1 Holstein: White nettle leaf on red, 2 Stormarn: White swan on blue, 3 Dithmarschen: White mounted knight on red, 4 Lauenburg: Yellow horse head on red.
Top shield: Per pale, Dexter Oldenburg, Sinister: Delmenhorst: Yellow cross on blue.
David Prothero
, 27 April 2002


Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh (1844-1900)

[British royal standard] image by Martin Grieve, 10 April 2007
Based on Hounsell 1873

Escutcheon of Saxony on Royal Standard differenced by three point label charged with one cross of St George and two blue anchors.

It is usual to grant the Royal Arms differenced by a label to children (three points) and grand-children (five points) of the Sovereign and, before the 19th century, banners of these differenced Arms were also granted. Although Arms were granted to Queen Victoria's children and grand-children in the normal manner it seems that only two differenced banners of the Royal Arms were created. One of these was the Standard of Queen Victoria's second son, Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh. The Standard became obsolete as a standard of the British Royal Family when he succeeded to the Dukedom of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1893.

In Louda & Maclagan's 'Lines of Succession' the same arms are shown against the name, Alfred, Duke of Saxe-Coburgh and Gotha, in the table of the House of Saxe-Coburg.
David Prothero
, 10 April 2007

Album des Pavillons, Guidons et Flammes de Toutes les Puissances Maritimes by M. A. Le Gras, 1858 shows this standard with a couped label. However Hounsell's Flag book of 1873 illustrates this Standard with a throughout label.
David Prothero, 30 April 2007


Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942)

Use 1906-1917

[Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn] image by Martin Grieve, 13 April 2007

Based on Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912)

Third son of Queen Victoria.

Escutcheon of Saxony on a Royal Standard differenced by a three point label charged with one cross of St George and two blue fleur-de-lis.

In 1906 it was decided that the Royal Standard would cease to be used as an official flag, and would be used, with one exception, only to indicate the presence of the Sovereign. This necessitated the introduction of a new personal Standard for Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria, who was about to undertake an official foreign tour.

Instructions to stop using the Royal Standard for official purposes appear to have been uncoordinated or only partially effective. The Admiralty Circular stating that the Royal Standard was not to be displayed on fortresses and official buildings was issued in August 1906. Other Circulars to implement these measures were issued, by the War Office in September 1906, the Home Office in June 1907, the Colonial Office in February 1908, and the Metropolitan Police in March 1908. At the same time increased efforts were made to prevent use of the Royal Standard by private individuals and bodies. Circulars were sent to Police Forces explaining that although there was no law prohibiting use of the Royal Standard, it was the King's wishes that it should not be flown without permission. The Scottish Office Circular of 16 March 1907 that informed Scottish Chief Constables of this was followed by another Circular of 18 June saying that it did not apply to the Scottish lion.
[National Archives (PRO) ADM 116/1063C, HO 45/10316/126525, MEPO 2/1070]
David Prothero, 13 April 2007

1917-1942

[Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn] image by Martin Grieve, 18 April 2007

Royal Standard differenced by a three point label charged with one cross of St. George and two blue fleur-de-lis.

Queen Victoria had married Albert, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Consequently King George V, their grandson, had the family name Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. This came to be a source of controversy during the war with Germany, particularly in 1917 when London was bombed by aircraft named Gotha. King George V renounced his family name and created the House of Windsor. The shield of Saxony was removed from the Standards of the Duke of Connaught, the Prince of Connaught and Other Members.
David Prothero, 18 April 2007

Flaggenbuch (1926) illustrates this Standard with a throughout label.
David Prothero, 30 April 2007


Arthur, Prince of Connaught

Use 1906-1917

[Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn] image by Martin Grieve, 14 April 2007

Based on Lloyds Book of House Flags and Funnels (1912) and assuming the labels were similar to his father's.

A Standard was also created for Arthur, Prince of Connaught, the son of the Duke of Connaught: Escutcheon of Saxony on Royal Standard differenced by five point label charged with three crosses of St George and two blue fleur-de-lis.
David Prothero, 14 April 2007

At this time enquiries were being received about using the Royal Standard as an indoor decoration. One such enquiry received the reply; "Although use of the Royal Arms in connection with any trade or business without permission is prohibited by statute, and although the displaying of the Royal Arms or Royal Standard in any public way except in accordance with heraldic usage is improper, their private use indoors for decoration purposes such as that which you propose is a matter to which the Secretary of State does not think he can raise any objection."

The Royal Standard could also be hoisted at parades and ceremonies on the Sovereign's Birthday even though the Sovereign was not present. It appears that this concession was not widely understood. It was done by the Army, including Colonial Regiments, and the Royal Air Force, but not by the Royal Navy until later, when the Army procedure was adopted ashore. In 1934 the Lord Chamberlain informed the Colonial Office that he felt sure that the Governor's Flag, if he was present, or the Union Jack, but not the Royal Standard, should be broken out at the masthead for the Royal Salute. This proved to be wrong, as King George V had confirmed on 9 July 1928 that the Royal Standard might be hoisted at his Birthday Parades, elsewhere than in London. It was normally hoisted during that part of the parade when the Sovereign, if attending, would have been present. The Royal Standard was also hoisted on 12 May 1937 and 2 June 1953 for parades celebrating the Coronations of George VI and Elizabeth II.
[National Archives (PRO) ADM 1/9131, CO 323/1272/9, WO 32/14700.]

Whether this practice is still carried out at military parades is not know, but it has been reported that every year at the Queen's Birthday parade in the Falkland Islands the Royal Standard is flown instead of the flag of the Governor while God Save the Queen is played.
David Prothero, 14 April 2007

1917-1938

[Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn] image by Martin Grieve, 14 April 2007

Royal Standard differenced by five point label charged with three crosses of St. George and two blue fleur-de-lis. The same Standard as before but with the shield of Saxony removed.

The general rule that anyone granted Arms may make a Banner of those Arms does not, as I understand it, apply to those granted differenced versions of the Royal Arms. The right to a Banner of differenced Royal Arms is subject to a separate grant. Had Prince Arthur not already had a differenced Royal Standard he would probably not have been granted one under new rules introduced by King George V when he set-up the House of Windsor. In order to avoid a proliferation of royal princes he issued Letters Patent under which only sons of the brother of the Sovereign would be Princes with the title Royal Highness. Their children would inherit the same title as children of non-royal Dukes.

Between 1920 and 1923, Arthur was also entitled to another flag; that of the Governor-General of the Union of South Africa.
David Prothero, 14 April 2007

Flaggenbuch (1926) illustrates this Standard with a throughout label.
David Prothero, 30 April 2007


Continued in: Reign of George V


 
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